Chicago | Reuters — U.S. soybean futures finished near unchanged on Thursday after initially rising on hopes for further Chinese purchases, traders said.
China, the world’s largest soybean importer, will buy about six million tonnes of soy from the United States before trade talks in early October, said a chief analyst at Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. Ltd.
Purchases of U.S. agricultural products like soybeans, the biggest U.S. farm export in terms of dollar value, are seen as part of efforts to improve relations during the trade war between the United States and China.
Expectations for potential deals helped support early gains in soybean futures, although enthusiasm eased during the trading session, brokers said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its daily reporting system, said private exporters sold 257,000 tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China for delivery in the 2019-20 marketing year that began on Sept. 1.
USDA, in a separate weekly report, said total export sales of U.S. soybeans in the week to Sept. 19 were 1,038,000 tonnes, toward the high end of a range of trade expectations for 800,000 to 1.3 million tonnes. The total included 391,400 tonnes to China.
“Nobody really wants to add to short positions amid the purchases that China is making and reports of more purchases coming,” said Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for INTL FCStone.
Most actively traded November soybean futures ended down 0.2 per cent at $8.88-1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. The most-active corn contract slipped 0.5 per cent to $3.72-1/2 a bushel on technical selling, traders said.
CBOT wheat climbed 1.8 per cent to $4.84-1/4 to break a run of five sessions of declines. K.C. hard red winter wheat futures traded higher and MGEX spring wheat declined as traders unwound spreads between the markets.
Profit-taking pressured MGEX December spring wheat after the market reached a two-month high on concerns about excessive rains hurting the crop’s quality. The contract settled down one per cent at $5.48-3/4 a bushel.
“You’re going to see some profit-taking, consolidation until we get more fundamental data to support the move,” Suderman said.
— Reporting for Reuters by Tom Polansek in Chicago; additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Naveen Thukral in Singapore.